Value for Money
Christmas night €1.50
This is a cheap-as-chips calendar but sadly it looks it. The absence of any chocolate was obviously of great concern and not remotely offset by the presence of a big red envelope in the mix even if it will allow you to send this as a most unusual Christmas card. A set of randomly placed numbers reveal random Christmassy images such as holly, candles wreathsand, of course, Santa Claus. It is free-standing, thanks to the pull-out cardboard on the back, but not very sturdy. It is Advent at its most basic but there will still be something sweet about counting down to Christmas with this spartan affair .
Verdict Frill free
Star rating ***
This calendar is super-thin and it is hard to get the doors open to access the tiny slabs of chocolate. It is, however, incredibly cheap and, perhaps unintentionally, hilarious. The number sequence is impossible to follow and will melt children’s heads. Santa in a Lotus sportscar might wreck parents’ heads. And what happened to his sleigh? And why are all the children getting into Santa’s Lotus? And why is Rudolph in a helicopter? What is going on Lidl? When you prise the doors open what you find will delight children. There are little chocolate shapes including a train, a shooting star and a Christmas tree. The chocolate’s not amazing but kids won’t care.
Verdict: Very good value and completely bonkers
Star rating *****
This marries a gorgeous Christmas decoration with a gorgeous felt Advent calendar and, while it is on the pricey side, we liked it all the same. There are 24 felt socks which can be pinned to the fireplace or wrapped around a bannister before eventually being placed on your tree. MS includes 12 chocolate balls and 12 chocolate Santas so you can mix the daily treats. Each stocking is large enough to carry two to three small pieces of chocolatey goodness if you have more than one child. It’s the type of thing that will last for years and one you’ll spend November 30th every year searching the house high and low for.
Verdict: Very cute
Star rating: ****
Brown Thomas €40
With these wooden Advent calendar, you’ve to buy your own treats which is mildy upsetting even if it does allow you eschew cheap chocolate in favour of more thoughtful gifts. It has 24 tiny doors for tiny fingers to open. It looks sweet, is relatively sturdy and will last years but we have seen fancier wooden calendars for the same price. The individual compartments are ridiculously small and you’d do well to fit more than a single treat into one so you’d better watch out if you have more than one child to please in the run-up to the big day.
Verdict: Rein . . . dear
Star rating **